Adaptation and barriers of e commerce in tanzania small and medium enterprises
Developing Country Studies www.iiste.orgISSN 2224-607X (Paper) ISSN 2225-0565 (Online)Vol.3, No.4, 2013100Adaptation and Barriers of E-commerce in Tanzania Small andMedium EnterprisesLyata NdyaliSchool of Management, Huazhong University of science and Technology, Wuhan 430074 Chinaprettylyata@yahoo.co.ukAbstractE-commerce has been predicted to be a new driver of economic growth for developing countries. The SME sectorplays a significant role in its contribution to the national economy in terms of the wealth created and the number ofpeople employed. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Tanzania represent the greatest share of theproductive units of the Tanzanian economy and the current national policy directions address ways and means ofdeveloping the capacities of SMEs. Many factors could be responsible for the low usage of e-commerce among theSMEs in Tanzania. In order to determine the factors that promote the adoption of e-commerce, SMEs adopters andnon-adopters of e-commerce were asked to indicate the factors inhibiting the adoption of e-commerce. The resultsshow that technical barriers are the most important barriers followed by legal and regulatory barriers, whereas lackof Internet security is the highest barrier that inhibit the implementation of e-commerce in SMEs in Tanzaniafollowed by limited use of Internet banking and web portals by SMEs. Also, findings implied that more efforts areneeded to help and encourage SMEs in Tanzania to speed up e-commerce adoption, particularly the moreadvanced applicationsKey words— e-commerce adoption, e-commerce adoption barriers, Small and Medium Enterprises, e-commerceadoption in SMEs in TanzaniaI. IntroductionThe sluggish step of e-commerce diffusion in SMEs sector has led to a variety of studies. These studies havereported that SMEs are generally lagging behind to large organizations as far as the adoption and usage of e-commerce is concerned [Simpson M. & Docherty A., 2004]. ( Fillis et al. 2003] observed the adoption of e-commerce by SMEs and found that SMEs could gain competitive advantage through adopting e-commerce as itcould improve their market performance by having better access to the market. (Bolongkikit et al 2006) Foundamong other issues that SMEs markets needed a high degree of human communication. (Taylor & Murphy 2004)discussed that SMEs occupy small and clearly defined niche markets that do not need global connectivity throughexperimentation as inhibitors to e-commerce adoption. Organizations adopting e-commerce in emerging countrieswhich includes Tanzania, face problems such as lack of telecommunications infrastructure, lack of qualified staffto develop and support e-commerce sites, lack of skills among consumers needed in order to use the Internet, lackof timely and reliable systems for the delivery of physical goods, low bank account and credit card penetration,low income, and low computer and Internet penetration (Kapurubandara M., 2009).The main purposes of this study are to investigate the barriers to e-commerce adoption in Tanzanian SMEs and tosuggest some recommendations for applying e-commerce successfully. The work begins by examining the natureof SMEs and e-commerce followed by discussing the barriers to e-commerce adoption based on previous research.1.2. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMES)Most of the international economies depend mainly on the role of SMEs in supporting the national economy indifferent countries. SMEs contribute significantly to the economies of the t, representing Tanzania around 70% ofall businesses, and providing the main source of jobs and income for Tanzanian people. SMEs account for agreater proportion of economic activity and international development organizations are active (EconomistIntelligence Unit, 2009). In Tanzania, SMEs historically played a relatively significant role in the process ofeconomic development. The definition of SMEs is not uniform; it varies across countries and in some countries,the definition differs further between sectors. Number of people employed and size of capital, sales, assets, etc. areused to classify enterprises into micro, small, and medium. The Tanzanian Ministry of Industry (MOI) classifiedSMEs based on labor and investment costs criteria. Small and medium enterprises are defined as those having 4-50workers respectively. As to the ceilings for investment costs, they are set at Tshs5 million and Tshs10 million forsmall and medium enterprises respectively (Ministry of Industry and Trade, 2010)1.3. E-commerceElectronic commerce refers to piloting business transactions over the Internet, which includes exchange ofinformation of value in the form of products and services as well as expenditures, using web-based technologies(Fraser J., Fraser N. & McDonald F., 2000). (Eurostat, 2004) defined e-commerce as transactions conducted over
Developing Country Studies www.iiste.orgISSN 2224-607X (Paper) ISSN 2225-0565 (Online)Vol.3, No.4, 2013101Internet Protocol-based (IP) networks or over other computer-mediated net-works (e.g. EDI if not carried out viaIP). The Internet and e-commerce are transforming the way firms function by redefining how back-end operationsare conducted (Terzi N., 2011). Studies of e-commerce issues in industrialized countries indicate that issues facedby SMEs in emerging countries can be totally different (Huff S. & Yoong P., 2000). Many SMEs in emergingcountries are not accomplishing even minimal levels of e-commerce adoption, also the adoption of web-enabledtransaction processing by small business has not been as widespread as would are expected Stockdale R.et.al.,2006). It has been revealed previously that the rate of e-commerce adoption in SMEs has been low.1.4. . Barriers to E-commerce Adoption in SMES in Developing CountriesAlthough research indicates e-commerce offers feasible and practical solutions for organizations to meetchallenges of a predominantly changing environment, the available studies related to SMEs in developingcountries reveal a delay or failure of SMEs in adopting e-commerce.1.4.1. Recent e-commerce barriers in SMEsIn the period 2005 and beyond, a number of studies were also abounding with new barriers on e-commerceimplementation in SMEs. Kaynak et al, 2005) reported on the difficulty of finding and retaining qualifiedpersonnel with required skills and knowledge and the risk of dissipation of company specific knowledge.Whereas,( Bolongkikit et al.,2006) found among other issues that SMEs markets needed a high degree of humancollaboration. In, (Kshetri., 2007) examined e-commerce barriers in terms of three categories: economic barriers,sociopolitical barriers and cognitive barriers. Whereas, (Rakhmanov, 2009) presented the main barriers affectinge-government development in Uzbekistan which negatively affected peoples verdicts to use the technology andinhibited decision makers from implementing or adopting e-government initiatives. Recently,( Olatokun andKebonye, 2010), considered the adoption of e-commerce by SMEs in Botswana and found out the factors that ledto e-commerce adoption, the kinds of e-commerce technologies that were adopted and used, as well as the servicesprovided with these technologies. Also, ( Alshehri and Drew, 2010), examined the e-ready (readiness) of Saudicitizens to identify the challenges and barriers that affect the adoption of e-government services in Saudi society.They classified the barriers into five barriers: technical, organizational, social, management support and financialbarriers. More recently, (Alamro and Tarawneh ,2011) brief the factors influencing e-commerce adoption in SMEsin Jordan into three contexts; these contexts were external environmental context; strong competition, globaleconomy, regional trade agreements, extremely low labor cost in some countries, frequent and significant changesin markets and increased power of consumer. Organizational context; changing nature of workforce, managementsupport, financial resources, increased importance of ethical and legal issues, increased social responsibility oforganizations and rapid political changes and technological context ; increase innovations and new technologies,e-commerce benefits, e-commerce barriers and rapid decline in technology cost vs. performance ratio.2. Research MethodologyThe main objective of this work is to investigate the barriers to e-commerce adoption in SMEs in Tanzania. Tofulfill the objective and achieve the goal, a framework for e-commerce adoption barriers in SMEs was used and aquestionnaire was designed to collect the required information.2.1. Framework for E-commerce Adoption Barriers in SMEsE-commerce adoption is related to the level of ICT acquisition; therefore, investigation should be done withregarding to aspects affecting ICT adoption in SMEs. The available researches reveal significant factors dealingwith ICT and e-commerce adoption in SMEs, thirty barriers to e-commerce adoption were gathered from theliterature. Several experts were interviewed to help in grouping the barriers. All interviewees agreed to group thethirty barriers into six groups as shown in the conceptual framework in figure (1)Figure 1: Conceptual Framework of Barriers of adopting e-commerce
Developing Country Studies www.iiste.orgISSN 2224-607X (Paper) ISSN 2225-0565 (Online)Vol.3, No.4, 20131022.2. Questionnaire DesignDesigned questionnaire was used for data gathering. The questionnaire was designed based on the conceptualframework for e-commerce adoption barriers in SMEs. The questionnaire comprises of six groups with twenty sixproposed barriers as shown in figure 1. The participants were asked to rate their perception towards the mostimportant barrier that affects e-commerce adoption within their enterprises on a five-point Likert-type scale withanchors from ―5- Strongly agre to ―1- Strongly disagree. The group of barriers or single barrier receives strongor medium rating is accepted as an effective barrier on e-commerce adoption in SMEs.
Developing Country Studies www.iiste.orgISSN 2224-607X (Paper) ISSN 2225-0565 (Online)Vol.3, No.4, 2013103The target population comprised small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Dar es Salaam city. Stratified randomsampling was used in selecting 150 enterprises working in the following fields: Wood and its Products, PaperProducts, Printing & Publish, Electronic & Electrical Industries, Electricity & Power Production, Service &Maintenance CentersIn selecting the sample 3 conditions were applied: acceptance to participate and experience with e-serviceapplications or at least has initiatives to apply e-commerce. Though only 95(ninety five) enterprises responded andagreed and participate in the study conditioning to hide their names. Questionnaires were distributed via Emailwere two copies distributed for each enterprise. To assure the participants quick and correct response; thequestionnaire copies were sent directly to the owners and/or managers. The total numbers of receivedquestionnaires were 147 copies out of 190 with total response rate 77.37 % as shown in table 1.Table 1; Responded RatioSector Numbers ofEnterprisesNumber of Questionnaire RespondRateCirculated Receivedservice &maintenance 27 54 49 90.7Wood and its product 21 42 29 69.0Electronic &electric industries 12 24 17 70.8Paper product and printing 22 44 33 75.0Electricity and power production 13 26 19 73.0Total 95 190 147 77.32.3. Results and Discussion40% of the SME had websites as shown in table 2, but majority of them don’t have online sales processing; ordertracking; online procurement and online payment. The top application being employed by most of enterprises is e-advertising i.e.; displaying enterprise information, products and services offered as shown in table 3. The resultsshow that there is no major dissimilarities exist between enterprises that adapting and non-adapting ecommerce, soall respondents were combined to make a single sample.Table2; Website CustomSector Adopting e-commerceYes Noservice &maintenanceElectricity and24.0 76.0Wood and its product 33.3 66.6Electronic &electric industries 64.0 34.4Paper product and printing33.3 66.6Electricity and power production 39.6 60.4Total 38.8 60.8Table 3; ecommerce application usageSector PercentageIn use Not in useOrder and Delivery 42.1 57.8Customer Support Service 26.3 73.7Electronic Advertising 76.3 23.7Electronic Marketing 60.6 39.4Payment system 0.0 100.0
Developing Country Studies www.iiste.orgISSN 2224-607X (Paper) ISSN 2225-0565 (Online)Vol.3, No.4, 2013104These findings matched the results of other studies such as :(Kartiwi & MacGregor 2007) in Indonesia;Kapurubanda in Sri Lanka;( Alshehri & Drew 2010) in Saudi Arabia;( Alamro & Tarawneh, 2010) in Jordan and(Olatokun & Bankole 2011) in Nigeria. From the study done by (El-Nawawy and Ismail 1999), after more than tenyears, most of e-commerce barriers mentioned in this study were solved except for cost and legal issues still needsome improvements.3. ConclusionEcommerce prospective is to improve how enterprises operate internally and how it obliges to its customers. E-commerce is much more than a tool for improving cost-quality ratios in SMEs services. The prime of this researchis to investigate the factors that influence and hinder the implementation of e-commerce in SMEs in Tanzania.Centered on the literature and the results of this research, the following conclusions are drawn.In concern, the design and implementation of e-commerce, constructing a uniform strategic plot for e-commerceprojects is the initial step for successful adoption of e-commerce. Though, findings indicated that most of SMEs inTanzania have only adopted basic applications. They generally, adopted the most common e-commercetechnologies which is e-mail and internet as an second marketing tools to display company‘s products and servicesinformation, rather than as an e-commerce platform to permit online transactions. Indeed, the adoption of e-commerce applications like online payment system, order processing is at a relatively low level. From the articlefindings infers that Tanzania should encourage and increase efforts on SMEs and speed up ecommerce adoptionespecially on advanced applications.ReferencesAlamro S. & Tarawneh S., ―Factors Affecting E-Commerce Adoption in Jordanian SMEs‖, European Journal ofScientific Research, 2011, 64(4): 497-506.Alshehri M. & Drew S., ―Challenges of e-Government Services Adoption in Saudi Arabia from an e-ReadyCitizen Perspective‖, World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, 2010, 66: 1053-1059.Bolongkikit J., Obit J., Asing J., & Tanakinjal G., ―An exploratory research of the usage level of e-commerceamong SMEs in the West Coast Sabah, Malaysia‖, 2006. Available on line at:http://www.arraydev.com/commerce/JIBC/2006-08/Bolongkikit.asp.Chen S., ―Adoption of Electronic Commerce by SMEs of Taiwan‖, Electronic Commerce Studies, 2004, 2(1); 19-34.EIU, Economist Intelligence Unit, 2009, Available at: http://www2.accaglobal.com/documents/surviving_drought.pdf.El-Nawawy M. & Ismail M., ―Overcoming deterrents and impediments to electronic commerce in light ofGlobalization‖, Proceedings of the 9th annual conference of the internet society, INET 99, San Jose, USA, 22 - 25June 1999.Eurostat, ―E-commerce and the Internet in European Businesses‖, European Communities, Luxembourg, 2004.Fraser J., Fraser N. & McDonald F., ‗The strategic challenge of electronic commerce‖, Supply Chain Management:An International Journal, 2000, 5(1): 7-14.Huff S. & Yoong P., ―SMEs and E-commerce: Current Issues and Concerns: A Preliminary Report‖,International Conference on E-commerce, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2000.Kapurubandara M., ‗A framework to e-transform SMEs in Developing Countries‘, Electronic Journal ofInformation Systems in Developing Countries, 2009, 39(3): 1-24.
Developing Country Studies www.iiste.orgISSN 2224-607X (Paper) ISSN 2225-0565 (Online)Vol.3, No.4, 2013105Kartiwi M. & MacGregor R., ―Electronic commerce adoption barriers in small to medium-sized Enterprises(sMEs) in Developed and Developing countries: A cross- country comparison‖, Journal of Electronic Commerce inOrganizations, 2007, 5(3): 35-51.Kshetri N., ―Barriers to e-commerce and competitive business models in developing countries: A case study‖,Electronic Commerce Research and Applications, 2007, 6: 443–452.Looi H., ―A model of factors influencing electronic commerce adoption among small and medium enterprises inBrunei Darussalam‖, International Journal of information technology, 2003, 10(1): 72- 87.MacGregor R., ―Perception of Barriers to e-Commerce adoption in SMEs in a Developed and DevelopingCountry: a Comparison between Australia and Indonesia‖, Journal of Electronic Commerce in Organizations, 2010,8(1): 61-82.Simpson M. & Docherty A., ―E-commerce adoption support and advice from UK SMEs‖ Journal of smallbusiness and enterprise development, 2004, 11(3): 315 – 328.Taylor M. & Murphy A., ―SMEs and e-business‖, Journal of small business and enterprise development, 2004,11(3): 280 – 289.Terzi N., ―The impact of e-commerce on international trade and Employment‖, Procedia Social and BehavioralSciences, 2011, 24: 745–753.Thulani D., Tofara C. & Langton R., ―Electronic Commerce Benefits and Adoption Barriers in Small andMedium Enterprises in Gweru, Zimbabwe‖, Journal of Internet Banking and Commerce, 2010,
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